TONY NESE & BUDDY MURPHY vs. LUCHA HOUSE PARTY (w/Gran Metalik)- 6.75/10
A very good opener that the crowd seemed really into. The Luchadores were great babyfaces and they came up with a very good finishing sequence that gives the heels a much-needed win. But I’m still having trouble caring about this feud because with no belts and no truly discernible personal issue, it feels like there no end in sight.
DRAKE MAVERICK & MUSTAFA ALI BACKSTAGE- fine
The idea they were setting up here is that Ali might be biting off more than he can chew, facing Itami so soon after having a hospitalizing illness.
HIDEO ITAMI PROMO- fine
NOAM DAR VIDEO PACKAGE- as far as “I’m a babyface now because I went through physical rehab for a serious injury” video packages go, this was pretty weak.
NOAM DAR vs. SEAN MALUTA- no rating, good semi squash
The ring announcer (and Vic Joseph the first time) accidentally pronounced Maluta’s last name as “Mulata.” Whoops. They showed us TJP watching backstage.
CEDRIC ALEXANDER PROMO- mixed.
Basically, every time it felt like Cedric was trying to give a grand speech, it wasn’t good, but every time he was talking about how he would beat Drew Gulak at SummerSlam and retain his title, it was good.
DREW GULAK PROMO- good
He’s standing behind a podium, giving me traumatic flashbacks to The Cabinet. His promo was good built to the PPV and worked with his character. They’re setting up a match between Cedric and Gallagher for next week.
MUSTAFA ALI vs. HIDEO ITAMI- 7.75/10
They had a hard-hitting back and forth match. Ali was a great babyface and Itami a great heel, but the finish they did (Ali climbed to the top to go for his finish but got dizzy or whatever and “lost his balance” allowing Itami to hit a big series of tree of woe dropkicks and get the pin) felt lame. Basically they were using the sickness as an excise to give Ali a loss where he would be protected, which I would normally be fine with but the execution felt so heavy-handed. I think it would have worked better if he just started getting dizzy at a random point and Itami took over and dominated and got a win by referee stoppage rather than having Ali about to hit his finisher and all but fainting. It was like a rehash of the Shawn Michaels concussion angle from late 1995, and the post-match stuff with the referee checking on him by asking him “what year is it?” and Drake Maverick calling for help also felt more over the top because of it.
A decent episode of 205 Live.
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